ROME, Ga. -- The Covenant baseball team stole a program single-game record 16 bases and rallied from an 8-5 deficit in the late innings to secure a 10-8 victory over Bates on Tuesday evening at William R. Bowdoin Field in Rome, Ga.
Covenant wins its season opener for the second straight year. Bates, out of Lewiston, Maine, drops to 0-2 on the year after falling earlier on Tuesday to Berry.
Covenant broke the program mark with 16 stolen bases, clearing the previous feat of 11. Will Cleland set the single-game record by a player with five steals, while Will Carlton had four. David Lockwood, Scott Gillespie and Paul Phillips each had two.
Trailing 8-6 in the seventh inning, Gillespie led off the frame with a single to center and that was followed by a Carlton walk and an Andrew Beck infield bunt single to load the bases. Freshman Forrest Hunter was robbed on a tremendous diving grab in center field by Bates' Rockwell Jackson, but still drove in a run on the sacrifice fly to make it 8-7. The Scots then tied the score at 8-8 on a successful double steal as Beck got caught in a rundwon between first and second that allowed Carlton to scamper home from third.
In the eighth inning, it was Carlton who came through the the biggest hit of the night. With runners on second and third and one out, Carlton ripped a double down the left field line that scored both to give Covenant a 10-8 lead.
Chris Rollins (1-0) would shut the door in the ninth inning to pick up his first career pitching win. Rollins went the final two innings and faced the minimum while striking out two.
The bullpen did a masterful job of keeping the Scots in the game. After Bates had taken an 8-5 lead with a four run fifth inning, Dan Thomas, Gillespie and Rollins pitched four shutout innings. Thomas went two innings and allowed just one hit and Gillespie pitched a scoreless seventh.
Cleland led the Scots with a 3-for-5 day with two runs and two RBIs. Gillespie went 2-for-5 with a run scored and an RBI, while Carlton and Hunter had one hit apiece and two RBIs each. Covenant outhit Bates 11-8.
Bates' Nate Pajka went 2-for-4 witha home run and two runs scored and Griff Tewksbury was 2-for-5 with an RBI. Rob DiFranco (0-1) picks up the loss for the Bobcats as he went 1.2 innings and allowed one earned run on three hits.
Covenant will play its home opener on Friday at 2 p.m. against NAIA foe Milligan.